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August 19, 2009

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Home » Sports » Athletics

Fraser keeps Jamaican party in full swing, awesome Bekele retains gold

LOOKING for his second gold medal of the world championships, Usain Bolt easily advanced to the second round of the 200 meters yesterday.

Two days after setting a world record of 9.58 seconds to win the 100, Bolt was sleepy coming into the stadium and still set the early morning alight by winning his heat, even though his 20.70 was 1.40 off his world record.

In the absence of injured defending champion Tyson Gay, Bolt, who is due in Shanghai next month for the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix, is the overwhelming favorite for gold. British sprinter Dwain Chambers also pulled out of the event through injury after finishing sixth in the 100 final.

Shawn Crawford, the 2004 Olympic champion, had the top qualifying time of 20.60 during a session slowed by chilly temperatures under an overcast sky at the Olympic Stadium. The 200 final is set for Thursday.

Late on Monday, Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser led a 1-2 Jamaican finish in the women's 100, again leaving the Americans wondering how they will ever keep one of those sleek yellow jerseys behind them.

With her Jamaican record, Fraser joined Christine Arron of France as the third-best runner in history, behind the late Florence Griffith-Joyner and the disgraced Marion Jones.

Fraser was the fastest of the semifinalists and exploded from the blocks in the final to win in 10.73 seconds. Kerron Stewart made a late surge but finished two hundredths adrift and had to settle for silver.

America's Carmelita Jeter prevented a repeat of Jamaica's Olympic clean sweep as she took bronze in 10.90, edging defending champion Veronica Campbell-Brown into fourth.

In the discus, overpowering Olympic and defending world champion Gerd Kanter qualified on his first throw with a toss of 66.73 meters, easily beating the qualifying mark of 64.50.

At the other end of the track spectrum, Kenenisa Bekele was again awesome as he won the 10,000 meters gold for the fourth time in a row.

Primoz Kozmus added the hammer world title to his Olympic crown and Cuba's Yargelis Savigne retained her triple jump title. Spain's Marta Dominguez, 33, ran the final straight like a teenager to take gold in the women's steeplechase, waving her headband in the air as she crossed the line.

Bekele won the 10,000 the way he won the last three, as well as two Olympic golds, with a devastating last lap that left long-time rival Zersenay Tadese suddenly 30 meters adrift. The Ethiopian had a moment of eye-popping panic when officials wrongly rang the bell for the second time as he crossed the finishing line, but his time of 26 minutes 46.31 seconds confirmed he had matched compatriot Haile Gebrselassie's achievement of winning four successive titles.

The regularity of that sub-60 seconds final lap makes it no less impressive and the Berlin crowd, still abuzz from Bolt's performance on Sunday, rose in recognition of an athlete who rivals the Jamaican for quality, if not pizzazz.


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